Nine Western states sought to address public concerns over homeless encampments on city sidewalks, but the Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the practice.
“The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against an outdoor sleeping ban proposed, in part, by the city of Boise, Idaho, last year,” the Washington Examiner reported. “On Monday, the justices on the Supreme Court turned down hearing a challenge to the ruling without comment. Lawyers representing the city argued the ‘creation of a de facto constitutional right to live on sidewalks and in parks will cripple the ability of more than 1,600 municipalities in the 9th Circuit to maintain the health and safety of their communities.’”
According to The LA Times, “Sidewalks have disappeared under tents, parks and riverbeds are now villages, uncollected trash has attracted rodents and spread fear of disease, and although more than 100 people are helped off the streets each day, they are outnumbered by the relentless infantry of the newly homeless.”
These sidewalk encampments are springing up across America, as are entire communities of homeless people living in deplorable conditions as they attempt to survive in failing economies. Their stories have been captured in a new documentary by DML News App founder Dennis Michael Lynch: “United States of Tents.”
As the crisis rages on, communities are struggling to find solutions. The case presented to the Supreme Court revolves around rights, as some prefer to sleep in public rather than in a shelter, or they cannot find room in a shelter. The 9th-Circuit ruling found the it “violates the 8th Amendment” to criminalize the decisions of homeless individuals to sleep on public property “when no alternative shelter is available to them.”
In Los Angeles, there are an estimated 8,000 to 11,000 homeless people. The Supreme Court previously ruled back in 2006 that they could not enforce laws against sleeping in public places. Yet the crisis presents a real danger to those experiencing homelessness. The LA Times published an OpEd that said 1,000 homeless people died last year in Los Angeles alone.
“United States of Tents” reveals the end-of-the-road conditions in which many homeless people live. Moving through multiple cities, the film explores various programs launched to help the homeless, and how some are succeeding.
Streaming on Amazon and also available for purchase on DVD (see options below), “United States of Tents” will shock and inspire.
In the powerful preview clip below, you will see why this film is growing in popularity.
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